In 1997, we founded RIDE magazine because of our evangelical passion for the sport of cycling.
When Herman and I first met in 1991, it was at a Johannesburg MBC event at Eskom College in Midrand and marriage followed soon after. We loved the freedom of riding out into the bush around Johannesburg, the engagement with our natural environment and we took great pleasure in introducing other people to mountain biking from our commune called 'the Farm' out near Diepkloof.
In the years leading up to 1997, Herman and I became very frustrated by the negativity and cynicism we often encountered in the South African bicycle industry, which was then a bastion of road cycling. Many of them saw mountain biking as "a fad, which will fade just like BMX did in the 80's". But such condescending comments were a red flag to a bull, so we redirected the substantial energy of our frustration and turned it into positive, effective and unstoppable determination. We were encouraged by family and mentored by the business people we met like Joneen from Linden Cycles, Rob Earle from Marquard, Malcom Hutton and Sam Hallatt in Jo-berg who had heard about this 'new thing' called mountainbiking, and could also see its vast potential. Our involvement with Johannesburg MBC and working relationships with fellow enthusiasts we met in the club like Victoria Clarke, Peter Body, Debbie and Mynhardt Slabbert, Ann and Adrian Hinde- were also key motivators and excellent preparation- all culminating in the establishment of RIDE magazine.
With our telephone ringing day and night at home, it was screamingly obvious that there was a crying need for people to know who to contact, where to ride, who to ride with...and nobody was filling this gap! Callers either wanted a change from cycling on the deadly roads of South Africa, or were new to cycling and had purchased a mountain bike. The media was also interested in covering MTB, so when Tri-Cycling was axed by its publishing house and we were approached by Richard Lendrum from Very Idea Advertising, the timing was absolutely perfect to establish a niche publication and we all agreed to call it RIDE.
We took out a sizeable loan from the bank, we took a risk. We didn't know if the publication would succeed or fail, but we each believed, in our own ways. Every editorial I wrote, I tried to put a little piece of my soul into that issue, willing it to succeed. But what we couldn't forsee, is that we were actually creating a legacy. A legacy that has endured the test of time.
The MTB and Road Cycling events calendar was the backbone upon which this magazine was founded. With websites still in their infancy, I started the 'AFTRAC Update' in 1993- a hand folded, photostatted A4 leaflet- which I posted out to subscribers and bicycle shops. The contacts list and events information which I built up, later became the base network upon which a full colour, nationally distributed cycling magazine would develop.
Above is our first MTB book co-authored with Jaques Marais, self-published through the magazine, and part of Gary Fishers' year 2000 marketing drive in South Africa. This was one of the highlights of my editorship of the magazine, since we not only met Gary Fisher in person, but took him on a MTB Safari at Ingwe Bush Camp!
Thanks to building our profile via the magazine, Herman & I were approached by Struik New Holland publishers to write this 'How to' book in 2000.
A coffee table book followed in 2004...
The trails guide in 2005.